Suspect in '72 Waikiki slaying dies in prison awaiting trial

Jan. 7—Today marks 52 years since Honolulu police found the body of 19-year-old Nancy Elaine Anderson at the Coral Terrace Apartments on Aloha Drive.

A former Nevada deputy attorney general arrested in 2022 more than 50 years after police allege he over 60 times in a Waikiki apartment died in a Hawaii prison on Christmas Day.

Today marks 52 years since Honolulu police found the body of 19-year-old Nancy Elaine Anderson at the Coral Terrace Apartments on Aloha Drive.

On Sept. 13, 2022, Tudor Chirila, was arrested in Nevada by Reno Police Department officers on suspicion of second-­degree murder in connection with Anderson's death. He was 77 at the time of his arrest.

Chirila was in custody for fifteen months awaiting trial later this year.

"As a family we are somewhat disappointed that he did not live to stand trial, yet at the same time we are also at peace knowing it is over. Once he was revealed, he ended up spending the rest of his life behind bars, " said Mary Schiattone, Anderson's sister, in a written statement. "We may never know the reason why he killed Nancy, if other co-conspirators were involved, or any other answers surrounding that day. All we know is we got the answer to our principal question ... who killed our sister in Hono ­lulu, Hawaii over a half a century ago ? Based on all the significant scientific forensic genetic evidence, Tudor Chirila killed our sister !"

The Anderson family was originally from Bay City, Mich., but moved to Arvada, Colo., about a year before Nancy moved to Hawaii. Anderson's murder is the oldest cold case murder in Hawaii resulting in an indictment and one of the oldest in the nation, her family said.

"Nancy came from a large family of 10 children, all nine of Nancy's siblings lived to see this day and out lived Tudor, " Schiattone said. "It seems to us as if the ghost of Nancy's Christmas past, present, and future, caught up with and haunted him in the end."

The Anderson family thanked the Honolulu police and Parabon NanoLabs Inc. of Virginia, the contractor used by HPD to help test and link DNA evidence found at the murder scene to Chirila.

Anderson's family singled out and thanked "genetic genealogist CeCe Moore for solving this incredibly difficult and extremely old cold case mystery."

The Honolulu Police Department deferred comment on Chirila's death to the Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney.

"The Department of the Prosecuting Attorney will be moving to dismiss the murder charge against Mr. Chirila, " Brooks Baehr, a department spokesperson, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

On Jan. 7, 1972, Anderson was discovered unresponsive by her roommate in their seventh-floor unit. Anderson, a 1970 graduate of John Glenn High School in Bay City, Mich., had moved to Hawaii in October 1971 and was employed at the McDonald's restaurant in Ala Moana Center.

Following the fatal stabbing, HPD investigated but came up with nothing.

Many years later, a tip moved the cold case forward, and HPD investigators used Parabon NanoLabs to help identify Chirila through DNA comparison.

In an affidavit filed in support of Chirila's arrest warrant, HPD Detective Michael Ogawa detailed how police pursued the case through the decades.

Starting the night Anderson was killed, Honolulu police interviewed and fingerprinted over 30 witnesses, gathered bloodstained sheets and towels, and conducted polygraph tests of close contacts.

Ogawa received a tip in late 2021 that Chirila could be Anderson's killer.

In February 2022, Ogawa reached out to Reno police and asked whether they could "surreptitiously " obtain a DNA sample from Chirila. Reno police Sgt. Laura Conklin and a team of officers spent weeks watching Chirila's Reno residence but did not find the right opportunity, according to the affidavit.

In March 2022, Ogawa contacted the Newport Beach Police Department in California and asked for help getting a sample from Chirila's son, John.

John Chirila told police that Tudor Chirila and his mom lived in Honolulu before he was born.

The DNA sample was enough to cross-reference with DNA taken from the towel found on the floor of Anderson's bedroom, yielding a finding that it was very likely that John Chirila was the biological child of the person who left the blood on the towel.

That was enough to secure a search warrant from a judge allowing Reno police, on Sept. 6, 2022, to administer a DNA swab on Tudor Chirila.

Chirila tried to kill himself after he was arrested in Nevada.